Nightly News   |  February 03, 2013

Marine fatally shoots two friends at gun range

A Marine allegedly turned his gun on two friends – including Chris Kyle, a celebrated Navy SEAL – at a gun range on Saturday. NBC’s Lester Holt reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. we begin tonight with a tragic irony that is befallen an american hero . a former navy s.e.a.l. who surviveed four combat tours in iraq and along the way became the most lethal sniper in american military history has been murdered in texas . authorities in lancaster, texas , have charged another former iraq war veteran with killing chris kyle and a friend yesterday afternoon. last year kyle went public with his story showing a riveting account on the battle goudfield in a memoir, "american sniper." he sat down with me, about dangers he could never have matched here the home he was celebrated for the number of kills he made from behind the scope of his sniper rifle . at least 160. a number chris kyle told me a year ago was not the one he focused on.

>> if i could figure out the number of people i saved, that's something i would brag about.

>> reporter: after leaving the navy nf 2009 , he start add security company in his native texas . it was on a shooting range 50 mimes out of fort worth that chad and his friend were chot shet to shot to death. a former marine arrived with them and killed them with a semiautomatic handgun dloev his sister's house and confessed to the murder before returning home.

>> around 9:00 p.m . they spiked his tires. the vehicle was stopped, and he was apprehended without any scuffle or fight.

>> reporter: the sheriff says hez understanding is that ralph may suffer from mental problems related to his military service but offered no specifics or possible motive. much of kyle 's time in iraq was spent providing sniper cover for u.s. troops in some of the war's most intense urban battles.

>> every person i killed i have a clear conscience of, because they were trying to harm americans allies or civilians.

>> reporter: his skills earned him a reputation with in insurgents.

>> they put a bounty on your head.

>> reporter: they did. you make it through four, five tours in combat and he comes back and dies like that. it's just a shame. chris kriel had recently spoken owl against calls for broader gun controls accusing the president of being against the second amendment. kyle said he was raised to be pate tree patriotic. he struggedy how they family should are ordered. that faith in god especially saw kyle through his last combat tour when he was shot twice. one bullet stopped by his body arm the other deflected off his goggles.

>> i have a guardian angel . i'm sure he hates me. come home, break my toe when i went up the stair, but every time i went overseas kept he safe.

>> reporter: chris kriel leaves behind a wife and two children.